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Report: Weeks before and after tax filing deadline are peak for scam calls

A new report finds the highest scam call volumes the week before and the week after the tax filing deadline.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Have you noticed your phone ringing off the hook? A new report finds the highest scam call volumes the week before and the week after the tax filing deadline.

North Little Rock-based First Orion projects scammers will make nearly 2.2 billion calls during the week of April 11. Scam call volume is expected to increase the week of April 25.

First Orion has historically worked to stop scammers from calling people, and getting their money and identity. According to the company, scammers could use tax season calls to extract more than $1.76 billion from U.S. mobile subscribers.

Kent Welch, chief data officer for First Orion, said the crooks are trying to capitalize on the fears and confusion that come with filing taxes.

"A lot of people are concerned that they're going to get audited or they did something wrong, and the scammers take advantage of that," Welch said. "They prey on people that are concerned about that. And then if they get you on the phone, they further pressure you to do something really fast."

In a 2022 survey of U.S. mobile subscribers, nearly 2 in 5 people said they are afraid of the IRS, and more than 7 in 10 say they would trust the IRS to be correct if they audited their return and found an issue.

How can you protect yourself?

"The first thing I say is 'if you get a call from a number that you don't know, don't answer,"' Welch said.

If it's important, the caller will leave a message. However, Welch said you have to watch out for those too.

"There's a lot of scams out there that they purposely try to leave a message and get you to call a number back," he said.

Welch suggests downloading a call protection app that can help flag some of the fraudulent calls. But what happens if one of those calls gets through?

"Don't give away personal information or your credit card information over the phone," he said. "If you feel like you're being pressured to do something in a quick manner, that's a pretty good sign that this probably not legit "

According to the IRS, its employees might call taxpayers to set up appointments or discuss audits but not without first attempting to notify them by mail. The IRS will never ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone.